Iron testing and what are the effects of iron on my softener and neutralizer

Discussion in 'Water Softener Forum, Questions and Answers' started by Clydesdale6, Jan 5, 2021.

  1. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    Oct 14, 2018
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    NY
    OK, my Hach pH test kit came in. I have 6.2 at the well and 8.3-8.4 after the neutralizer. My Hach kit only goes to 8.4. I bought this range because I thought it would be most appropriate. I kind of wish I had just a touch higher of a range. Is there any real issue to being in this pH range after the neutralizer? The neutralizer does its thing every 3 days and it neutralized last night.
    The iron kits use 5ml test tubes. The good news is that the pH kit uses those as well. So, I did not have to do the 1/2 inch tape mark concept that skyjumper figured out for me. Thanks for the effort skyjumper. Here is a pic of the water at the well. What do you guys think of the amount of iron? Do I need to proceed with buying their color wheel kit?
     

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  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that is a problem, but just use calcite, and not Corosex. Actually, 6.2 is not too bad, except it will be harder on metal plumbing. If you could do all-plastic plumbing, that might not need pH treatment.

    [Edited out comment based on incorrectly thinking that photo was raw water.]
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  3. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    oops, I already dumped it. I could always test it again. It is more peach in color. No chance of going to plastic plumbing. Whole house is already copper. Thanks.
     
  4. aaroninnh

    aaroninnh Member

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    Location:
    NH
    I'd say your neutralizer is over correcting quite a bit. The drawback is you're gonna use more media in your neutralizer and will have to add more more often, and in addition your softener will have to work harder than it needs to getting rid of the extra hardness the neutralizer is adding.

    I agree with Reach, at 6.2 you should use only calcite. My pH is similar to yours out of the well (6.0-6.4, it varies) and my calcite only filter bring it up to 7.0-7.2ish.
     
  5. skyjumper

    skyjumper Member

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    subjective eyeball test comparing to my color disc... i'd say about 1.2 - 1.4ppm. in my opinion you can manage that with your softener just keep it clean as discussed previously. I don't recall if you said anything about iron bacteria. fill a glass with raw well water and let it sit overnight. if orange sludge forms on the bottom that's a sign of iron bacteria.
    Edit - I wouldn't bother with the color wheel. you know you have more than 1ppm and less than 2. that's really all you need to know unless you want to obsess over it like some of us (as I look away in shame...)
    ironbacteria.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  6. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    ok. Thanks everyone. I will fill a glass with raw water and leave it overnight. I don't fully understand the wheel. It seems like the more iron you have, the more orange and less peach the color becomes. However, the wheels seem to then go from increasing orange to all of a sudden the lighter colors mean greater iron. Am I reading that wrong. The wheels don't seem to show the more iron the more orange. It starts off that way and then seems to show that water that is very light and peach in color could be very high in iron.
    Also, how do I correct my neutralizer to work less? I am pretty certain that they used calcite and corosex. So, when I go to fill, I will only fill with calcite. How else do I dial this in? Thanks.

    edit- just checked pH again and it is still at 8.3-8.4 ish. The neutralizer runs every 3 days. It is set to run in two more days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2021
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    pH will settle down.

    I would
    1. You might ask the dealer about what fill they used.
    2. You could play with teasing the bypass. I don't know how that typically works, but if the flow rate is not hurt, try it.
    3. The 8.5 pH won't hurt anything, but the taste might be affected. The main downside is going through your neutralizing media faster.
     
  8. aaroninnh

    aaroninnh Member

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    Yes, you are reading it wrong. The wheel is meant to be used in the black box that Hach provides, and the number shows through in a different spot than the color window (the number is in the bottom center of the box). You can't look at the number next to the color with the raw wheel in your hand, it only makes sense when in the box. The clear one is actually 0.0, and the darkest color maps to the highest number.


    Exactly, skip the corosex. Calcite by itself should work fine with a ph of 6.2 and get you up into the low 7's. It is the corosex that is over correcting.
     
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  9. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    The neutralizer unit is only backwashing the media every 3-days. Acid reduction (pH increase) occurs constantly as the water is flowing through the media when flowing to your fixtures.

    Calcite is fairly self limiting as it will only raise pH fairly close to neutral pH (~7.0) whereas Corosex can raise pH higher.

    The pH can also be raised higher if the water has had extended contact with the media. When you test pH, do you do so after water has been sitting within the neutralizer for some time? If so, you may want to obtain a sample after a substantial quantity of water has been used such as directly after showering.
     
  10. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    You guys are a huge help. I understand the point about reading the color wheel. Thanks. My readings are definitely a light peach color, not orange. I know my guy used corosex when he first set it up. I will take a sample after a shower or some use. When I took it this morning, there had not been much water usage since the prior day. I kind of did it first thing this morning. Thanks.
     
  11. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    I did not have any iron bacteria that settle at the bottom of a glass after two days. Knowing that my iron is 1.2-1.4, what does this mean? Is this considered a minor amount or is it worse than that. The company that I did NOT hire did not make it out to be a big deal and the company I did hire also did NOT make it out to be a big deal until AFTER the water softener was in place. So, are these levels an issue or not? They make it out as if the amount that I have can damage the softener, therefore I have to have the softener regen more. Any thoughts on that or can anybody further explain? Thanks again.
    Also, I put an Iron Out like product in the brine well last week and put citric acid in between salt bags. How often should I do the Iron Out with my numbers? Thanks!
     
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    They draw the line at 0.3 ppm (same as 0.3 mg/l). It is rather arbitrary, but I think it was a good place to draw the line.

    It is not a health thing, but taste and more.
     
  13. aaroninnh

    aaroninnh Member

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    You can look at something like a rescare feeder that slowly drips the chemical into the brine well.

    With iron I wouldn't want to regen any less than once a week.
     
  14. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    So, when would you have a low iron, moderate iron and high iron issue? So, at 1.2-1.4 where am I on the spectrum. Minor issue, mod, or major issue? Thanks.
     
  15. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Moderate. It is very arbitrary. We see iron in excess of 50-70 PPM, this is incredibly high. Iron as low .5 ppm can cause significant staining. Too many many variables to give an absolute number but anything over 1 is likely to be annoying.
     
  16. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    OK. Thank you. It looks like 1ppm = 1mg/l . If I am in the moderate zone at 1.2-1.4 mg/l, how often would you recommend I put in iron out or rescare? I am going to use the citric acid between salt bags. Thanks again.
     
  17. skyjumper

    skyjumper Member

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    Apr 4, 2019
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    you are fine. 1.4 is enough that you need to be proactive about it, but not so high that you need expensive dedicated equipment (my opinion). the softener will remove the iron from the water - and it does a very good job of it.... but normal salt regeneration does not flush away the iron from the softener. that's why you need to use resin cleaners to clean out the iron. otherwise the iron will build up inside the resin bed and the softener will eventually stop working. iron bacteria create a sludge that plugs up the works and causes a big mess. since you don't seem to have an obvious iron bacteria problem then your situation is more manageable. with iron bacteria you'd have to dismantle your Clack valve more often to clean it out. Even without the bacteria you will still have to take it apart and clean it every so often -- hard to say how often, but I'd plan on every 2 years. luckily you have a Clack so taking it apart and cleaning it is easy --- it is designed to be serviced. with iron in the water the brine injector has a tendancy to get clogged with Fe deposits. its very easy to remove and clean. you'll also have to clean/replace the seal pack & piston at some point, maybe every 2 years. check it at 2yrs to see how bad it is. there's youtube videos out there that show you how to do all this. be thankful you bought Clack.
     
  18. Clydesdale6

    Clydesdale6 Member

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    ok Great. How often would you recommend the cleaning with "iron out" ? I will stick with the citric acid that you recommended. I got it right from Amazon, as you suggested. It was a good deal. Thanks again for that link.
     
  19. skyjumper

    skyjumper Member

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    in addition to the citirc acid I'd also use phosphoric acid (Rescare) with each regeneration. you add about 2oz directly to the brine well before it regenerates. you can do this manually or get the dispenser. I use a dosing pump that dispenses 1 quart per month of a diluted solution. the exact dosing amounts are not critical here. if you skip a week or two no big deal you have the citric acid in the salt.

    I don't really use iron out anymore, at least not in the softener. in my experience you have to let it soak in the resin bed for a couple hours, which involves a more complex manual regeneration that is not practical for weekly or ongoing maintenance. you could do it twice a year for good measure I'm sure it would help.
     
  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Have you run the cost numbers for your Rescare? Typically, that is dosed in from a dispenser bottle with a metering wick. If I were adding in Rescare or citric acid or Iron Out to my brine tank for treating iron, I would not opt to also buy the iron-handling salt.

    Some layer in Iron Out crystals with the salt as somebody might layer in citric acid. Iron Out does not smell as bad as some imply, but it does smell worse than citric acid or phosphoric acid, which don't have much smell. So IO is hardly pleasant smelling, there are smells that are a lot worse. And it works nicely.

    I just use the ordinary Morton Clean and Protect Water Softener Pellets. It has a little citric acid in it, but not nearly as much as Morton Clean and Protect with Rust Defense Water Softener Pellets. However my H2S+iron backwashing filter, before the softener, does a pretty good job, so I don't need the extras. But if my softener were my primary iron treatment, I would not use the special iron-treating salt plus another dosing material in the brine tank. The adder for the special salt is about 30%.
     
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